After officer's death, Fargo police chief advocates help for alleged gunman's family
By Rick Abbott
Published Feb. 14, 2016 - The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
FARGO – Days after delivering the news that one of his officers was shot and mortally wounded, Fargo Police Chief David Todd called Sunday for the community to rally behind the alleged gunman’s family.
Writing in a note posted to the Fargo Police Department Facebook page, Todd said aiding Officer Jason Moszer’s wife and two children was at the forefront, but that he and the department are trying to find ways of making “something good come out of this senseless act of violence.”
Marcus Schumacher, 49, died while he was holed up in a north Fargo home in an eight-hour standoff with police last week. It’s not yet known if he was killed by police gunfire or by suicide.
Police were initially called to the area for a domestic disturbance after Schumacher was believed to have threatened his wife, Michelle Schumacher, 47, and possibly shot at her.
One of Michelle’s sisters, Juliane Hegle, 60, was comforted by the support of Todd and others who have come forward.
“The whole family is just so astonishingly grieving for Officer Moszer’s family, for his loss,” said Hegle, of West Lebanon, N.H. “At the same time, we’re dealing on our side with what happened.”
Schumacher and her 21-year-old son were seeking protection from a “deranged and dangerous person who was causing them to be in fear of losing their lives,” Todd wrote. Police said that Schumacher and her son, who Hegle said has cystic fibrosis, were able to escape the home unharmed.
“Perhaps this is a time the community can reach out to Mrs. Schumacher and her son and look for ways to help them,” Chief Todd wrote Sunday on Facebook. “My faith and the mission I’ve sworn to uphold – tells me it’s the right thing to do.”
Hegle said she and other extended family members were shocked to learn of the tragedy.
“None of us get it. We totally don’t understand what happened with (Marcus Schumacher),” she said. “It’s extremely challenging at many angles, including going through a lot of, ‘Could I have done something differently?’ second-guessing, feeling like this was not the Mark that (Michelle) loved, and that an officer lost his life.”
Hegle said family members were apprehensive about coming forward and asking for help for Michelle Shumacher and her three adult children. They didn’t want to cause more pain for Moszer’s family, she said.
“It’s hard on so many levels,” Hegle said.
The home where the standoff took place, 308 9th Ave. N., was quiet Sunday, with windows boarded up and snow covering a broken fence and deck.
“It’s not a place that they can go back to, for sure,” Hegle said.
Hegle said finances for Marcus and Michelle Schumacher had been difficult for some time, with Marcus recently having been laid off.
“They’ve pretty much struggled for a great part of their whole time together,” Hegle said. “It’ll be nice to be able to know, for (Michelle), where financially she stands.”
Told that hundreds had joined a Facebook group in support of the Shumacher family and that a group of friends were meeting tonight to set up a future fundraiser, Hegle started to cry.
“It’s really nice to know that people aren’t judging Michelle and the kids for what happened,” Hegle said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Hegle said she plans to come to Fargo later this week, when a private service is planned for Marcus Schumacher. She said his body had been released by the coroner after an autopsy on Saturday, but didn’t have any other information on his cause of death.
A Facebook group, titled “A Family in Need,” was formed to support the Shumacher family and had grown to include more than 800 members late Sunday.